Volume 5, No. 11 - November 2016

In The Know

- Keeping you informed is what it's all about

Suspension and Revocation - Bail Bond agents

Immediate temporary suspension

The Department shall, upon receipt of an information or indictment, immediately temporarily suspend any license or appointment issued under this chapter when the licensee has been charged with a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or a crime punishable by imprisonment of 1 year or more under the law of any state, territory, or country. Such suspension shall continue if the licensee has been found guilty of, or has pleaded guilty or no contest to, the crime, whether or not a judgment or conviction has been entered, during a pending appeal. A person may not effect any additional bail bonds after suspension of his or her license or appointment. However, he or she may discharge any liability on bonds effected prior to such suspension. [See s. 648.45(1), F.S.]

Effect of suspension and revocation - associated licenses and licensees

Upon the suspension, revocation, or refusal to renew or continue any license or appointment or the eligibility to hold a license or appointment of a bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent, the Department shall at the same time likewise suspend or revoke all other licenses or appointments and the eligibility to hold any other such licenses or appointments which may be held by the licensee under the Florida Insurance Code. [See s. 648.50(1), F.S.]

In case of the suspension or revocation of the license or appointment, or the eligibility to hold a license or appointment, of any bail bond agent, the license, appointment, or eligibility of any and all bail bond agents who are members of a bail bond agency, whether incorporated or unincorporated, and any and all temporary bail bond agents employed by such bail bond agency, who knowingly are parties to the act which formed the ground for the suspension or revocation may likewise be suspended or revoked. [See s. 648.50(2), F.S.]

No person whose license as a bail bond agent or temporary bail bond agent has been revoked or suspended shall be employed by any bail bond agent, have any ownership interest in any business involving bail bonds, or have any financial interest of any type in any bail bond business during the period of revocation or suspension. [See s. 648.50(3), F.S.]

Duration of suspension or revocation

The Department shall, in its order suspending a license or appointment or the eligibility to hold a license or appointment, specify the period during which the suspension is to be in effect, but such period may not exceed 2 years. A license or appointment which has been suspended may not be reinstated, nor shall the eligibility to hold such license or appointment be reinstated, except upon request for such reinstatement. The Department may not grant reinstatement if it finds the circumstances for which the license or appointment was suspended still exist or are likely to recur. In each case involving suspension, the Department has the discretion to require the former licensee to successfully complete a basic certification course in the criminal justice system, consisting of not less than 80 hours approved by the Department. The former licensee will be required to provide a fingerprint scan for a background check. [See s. 648.49(1), F.S.]

During the period of suspension or revocation of the license and until the license is reinstated or a new license is issued, the former licensee may not engage in or attempt to profess to engage in any transaction or business for which a license is required. A person who violates this law commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in Florida Statutes s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. [See s. 648.49(3), F.S.]

Upon the termination for cause, surrender, suspension pursuant to s. 648.45(2), F.S. or revocation of a bail bond agent’s license, the appointing insurer or managing general agent shall immediately designate a licensed and appointed bail bond agent to administer all bail bonds previously written by the licensee.

Note: Any individual who is licensed under any license which has been revoked or who has had his or her eligibility to hold a license revoked by the Department may not apply for another license under Chapter 648. [See s. 648.49(2), F.S.]

Assumed or Fictitious (D/B/A) Names Must be Reported to Us

An assumed or fictitious, "doing business as" business name, is not a separate legal entity and is not required to hold a separate agency or firm license. However, the Department must be informed of the intent to use an alternate name, whether when first applying for an agency license or after a license has been issued.

After an agency license is effective, an agency using a fictitious name must report the name in writing to the Bureau of Licensing and provide evidence that the name has been established by the state agency responsible for maintaining those records - in Florida, fictitious names are filed with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Include a copy of the fictitious name filing when notifying the Department of the intent to change the agency's business name to include the fictitious or "D/B/A" name. Requests for name changes should be sent to AgentLicensing@MyFloridaCFO.com.

(The following article was reprinted with permission from FUBA Worker's Comp)

Can Workers’ Comp Policyholders Avoid Paying Higher Rates?

The workers' compensation rate increase that takes effect on December 1st in Florida is a bit unusual in that it is "off-cycle;" usually, rate changes take effect on January 1st. The rate increase of 14.5% on new and renewal policies starting December 1st has led some policyholders to ask their agents if they can postpone the rate increase by cancelling their existing policy and re-writing another one that starts before the rate increase. The short answer is "no." In Florida, workers’ compensation policies cannot be cancelled and then re-written in order to take advantage of a change in the rates. As policies renew, they will have the rate increase applied to their policy according to their renewal date (or Anniversary Rating Date, if different than the policy effective date).

Under the Anniversary Rating Date (ARD) rule in the National Council on Compensation Insurance's (NCCI) Basic Manual, a carrier issuing a workers' compensation policy in Florida must apply the rules, class codes and rates that are in effect as of the ARD of the policy for the full one-year term of the policy. This means that an existing policy with a renewal date and ARD of June 1, 2016, will not have the 14.5% rate increase applied to it until June 1, 2017. If the policyholder cancels this policy and re-writes it with a new effective date of November 30, 2016, that policy keeps its ARD of June 1st and will still have the higher rates charged when it renews on June 1, 2017.

Because the ARD rule is confusing and often the ARD is the same as the policy's renewal date, NCCI has received approval from the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation to repeal it in May of 2017. Until then, however, the ARD rule governs how the December 1st rate increase will be applied to Florida workers' compensation policies.

Title Insurance Agency Surety Bonds

A title insurance agency must have obtained a surety bond in an amount not less than $35,000 made payable to the title insurer or title insurers appointing the agency. The surety bond must be for the benefit of any title insurer appointing the agency. If the surety bond is payable to multiple title insurers, the surety bond must provide that each title insurer is to be notified in the event a claim is made upon the surety bond or if the bond is terminated.

The surety bond must remain in effect and unimpaired as long as the agency is appointed by a title insurer. The agency must provide written proof to the appointing title insurer or insurers on an annual basis evidencing that the surety bond is still in effect and unimpaired. [s.626.8419(1)(c), F.S.] Please do not send your bond to the Department.

A title insurer may not provide the surety bond for the title agency.

Keeping Your Clients' Confidential Information Confidential

We'd like to remind licensees that many business equipment machines, particularly digital copiers and fax machines have hard drives - like the one on your personal computer - which can contain large amounts of data and images with sensitive and confidential information about your clients (social security numbers, bank account numbers and other financial information, medical records, medication histories, etc.). Obtaining the equipment's hard drive could be the one thing someone aiming to commit identity theft needs. We recommend that you make certain confidential information is destroyed or "scrubbed" before selling or returning the equipment to a leasing firm. Many of the major manufacturers offer security or encryption packages with their products. Please protect yourself and your clients.

Still Haven't Created Your MyProfile Account? It's Quick and Easy!

The Department communicates with its licensees, appointing entities, and education providers via email and their secure MyProfile account on our website. We continue to receive inquiries from some of our customers that they cannot access their MyProfile account. Typically, they received an email from the Department to go check their MyProfile account for details about their license, appointment, or continuing education requirement and can't log in when they try. They try different usernames and passwords but nothing works. It seems like the system is broken and not letting them in. The real problem: they never created an account.

You must create your MyProfile account(s) with a username and password before you can access your account. At the same time, you will also set up some security questions and answers so you can easily retrieve your username or password in the event you forget either in the future. You will also verify your contact information on file. We strongly encourage you to use your actual email address as that is how we will notify you of any important information to go check in your MyProfile account. After the new MyProfile account information has been entered, the system automatically transfers your information on file into your new account.

A guide to assist you with creating an account and retrieving a forgotten username or password is located at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Division/Agents/Licensure/myProfileHelp/documents/MyProfile_Create_PWD_UN.pdf.

 

The 2015 Florida Statutes Now Available Online

The most current Florida Statutes can now be viewed at Online Sunshine - Title XXXVII Insurance.